If you have read any of the on-line comments in newspapers or skiing forums regarding SkiLink, you undoubtedly are familiar with the prolific pro SkiStink persona known as “itsnowjoke.” Snowjoke moved to Utah about five years ago and has been on Sagebrush Rebellion bender as an effort to take away public lands and convert them into private property at his local ski resort, the Canyons. As part of this effort, he has created a “Circle of Trust” which apparently has a weak link, as I got an invite. The gist of the Circle is to create a secret cabal to send letters of support to newspapers and forums saying “I live in Florida and take a ski trip every year. If Utah had SkiStink, I would go there.” It is pretty cloak & dagger stuff and I’m not sure if Talisker signed off on it or not, although the offer has been extended.
If you’d like to be part of the “Circle of Skilink Trust” email him at email@example.com. His name has been changed to protect his ignorance, and I’ll admit I may have changed the url of a few of the links in his letter below. There is also a supposed pro SkiStink editorial in the works in the upcoming Fall/Winter “Mountain Express” magazine. Should be scintillating.
If you are receiving this letter, it’s because you fall into a special category of persons that I think may be able to assist me. No, I’m not dying yet, and this is not a solicitation for funds! By the time you’ve finished reading this, however, you may have ascertained that (itsnowjoke) has finally gone bat-shit crazy!
Do you remember in the movie “Meet The Parents”, how Robert DeNiro’s character had his “Circle Of Trust”? How you’re either in it or outside of it? Well, for my own admittedly shallow reason, I’m looking to establish such a Circle of Trust. If I chose for you to be a recipient of this letter, it’s because you have qualities which I think will help achieve something that I believe in. You either have middle of the road to far-right conservative qualities, or are a skier, or both. This letter is going out to close friends, family and distant acquaintances alike. The common denominator is that I trust you.
Here’s the deal:
As many of you know, I’m a life-long outdoors type. Since an early age I’ve been camping, hiking, climbing, skiing, mountain biking, etc. And as many of you know, I absolutely love the mountains, ocean, the earth, and appreciate any opportunity to recreate on / in / and above the aforementioned venues. Some of you know that I built a trail in my town of Park City, Utah, and then had the honor of having it named after me. “(itsnowjoke)” translates to “of the woods” in French. Go figure!
I live next to the largest ski resort in Utah, Canyons resort, www.canyonsresort.com. It is located is the Wasatch Mountains. There are seven major ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains. They include Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, Park City, and Deer Valley as well as Canyons. All of these resorts are in extremely close proximity to each other; some actually share boundaries while others are separated by a mile or two of terrain, but 35-40 miles of driving.
Up until a few years ago, Canyons was a decrepit, underfunded (bankrupt), mismanaged resort. A Toronto based company -Talisker- bought the resort and last fall, Talisker Corp. proposed the concept of “Skilink”. Skilink is an aerial gondola which will connect Canyons resort to Solute resort, now a 70-80 mile round trip over a high pass and through a narrow canyon. Ultimately –according to Ski Utah and Talisker- Skilink will in part be responsible for linking all seven Wasatch resorts.
Most visitors who come to Utah to ski stay in Park City. They ski the three resorts on our side of the mountain, then drive to the other resorts and back to sample them. By building Skilink tens of thousands of round-trip car trips from Park City to the other resorts will be saved per year. That’s great! However, my pure motivation for seeing Skilink built is that it will result in one of the best skiing experiences on the planet! Pretty deep, huh?
Here are some Skilink specifics, go to www.skilink.com for more info. Skilink will cost approximately 17 million dollars. It will be approximately 3 miles long, and requires a corridor 30 feet wide. It begins in canyons resort, climbs over a 10,000 foot ridge, and descends to the Solitude Ski Resort. The ride will take 11 minutes. Once at Solitude, one will have access to an additional 3000 acres of chairlifts and skiing. Solitude and Brighton resorts are already connected.
“All of this is great (itsnowjoke)”, you say, “but what on earth does this have to do with me”? Well, in order to build Skilink, Talisker needs to buy or lease 30 acres of Forest Service land to come up with the corridor. Forest service leases to ski areas are extremely common. Most ski areas in the US are on or adjacent to forest service land. Utah, being a conservative state, is mostly supporting Skilink. When Talisker went to the local Forest Service office to obtain a lease permit for the land in question, they were basically told, I believe, “no way,-it will take an act of congress”. So Talisker gained the support of the major Utah Senators, and proposed a bill to congress for the sale of the land to Talisker. Many local businesses, mayors, former mayors / and all of the ski areas support this bill and this move.
However, -this is where Team Circle of Trust comes in- there is an extremely well organized, and vocal “environmental” group which vehemently opposes Skilink. To be honest, I never knew that such fringe groups existed. As a group and as individuals they have seemingly no logical or reasoning abilities, nor the ability to compromise. They are passionate and shrill. They would have you believe that I love to club baby seals for fun, and that I would like to tear down the forest and sell it for firewood. Also, evidently I don’t ski and I work for Talisker. How do I know this?
In a nut shell: This small group writes letters to the editor of the local paper, and they also write on a major international online skier forum, where one can post online comments. A wise man –you know who you are!- once told me that perception is reality. If you read the letters to the editor and the comments by these whack-jobs on forums, etc., a casual observer might think that Skilink has no support whatsoever. Also, the enviro group would have the population believe that many, many horrible things will happen to the environment if the link is built. They present as facts things that simply aren’t true. When folks go to the online forum to correct these omissions or falsifications, they are surrounded by a pack of verbal wolves and attacked.
The opposition to Skilink is so vociferous, folks are just not commenting, fearing being bullied by these extremists. But I’m not.
I have wrestled with thoughts of just not commenting, and simply ignoring these cretins. Their comments are so egregious, it often seems like the right thing to do. But I strongly believe that building skilink is the right thing to do as well, so I continue to engage, and attempt to set facts straight. Social media got Obama elected, it is powerful.
So here’s how I need your help: As I said, I’d like to form an Inner Circle of Trust. I mean it jokingly, of course, but you’re either in it or outside of it, right? What I would like to do is devise an email list of folks who would like to help me put these mamby-pambly extremist “environmentalists” in their place.
When these guys make comments, I would like your help in shutting them down. For instance, if there is a letter to the editor of a specific paper, I would like to alert you by email so that you can add to the comments the positive aspects of Skilink. At a minimum, you could say something to the effect that you live in Florida or whatever and take an annual ski trip. You would definitely come to Utah if Skilink was built, etc. Of course, we will never lie. Facts KILL these whacko’s! If you choose to be on my list, I will provide a fact sheet listing pro’s, cons and arguments.
Currently, ther is a major discussion going on at Tetongravity.com. Teton Gravity is the major web-site for skiers. It is viewed all over the world by hundreds of thousands of skiers young and old. I hate to have impressionable young minds infused with the drivel of these ulta-liberal extremists! For a sample of what you would be up against, go to: www.tetongravity.com / forums / ski-snowboard / the wasatch’s worst enemy = Talisker.
Whether it be letters to the editor or Teton Gravity, one needs to go through an instant, simple, quick, free, anonymous application process in order to comment.
Lastly, as you are aware, I’ve never done anything like this before. I may sound slightly obsessive / crazy to engage with these lunatics. I can assure you that I’m maintaining a sane balance in life, spending time with my family, walking the dog, hiking, biking, tennis, working, etc. If you do slightly fear for my sanity, please, by all means, let my dog know. A man must stand for something, or else he stands for nothing, right?
Thanks for your time. Let me know if you want to be on the list. Otherwise, no hard feelings, thanks for your consideration.
Help support StraightChuter.com and snuggle up with the ultra-liberal extremists in a Columbia Snuggly Bunny Down Bunting from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…